Crash (2005)
No way I’m taking a speeding ticket from this cop.

Golden Mug

NOMINEE: Supporting Actor (Matt Dillon)

Theatrical Release Date: 05/06/2005
Director: Paul Haggis
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Dashon Howard, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, Larenz Tate, Tony Danza, Keith David

By popular demand, I am now delivering my review on writer/director Paul Haggis’s “Crash”. It stars a bevy of Hollywood names, all listed above and I don’t recommend trying to say all of their names in one breath.

While this film attracted a lot of known talent, who mostly contributed convincing performances, I felt Haggis was unable to follow through on his grand plan. You can’t go more than 2 minutes without being hit over the head with a racial stereotype hammer. Maybe it’s because he was a writer on ‘Different Strokes’ or perhaps he wrote this at the same time and just updated some of the technology. That would make the most sense.

Now, I don’t mean to bag on the film entirely. The acting in the film is quite good. While Brendan Fraser continues to flounder in serious roles, Don Cheadle once again provides a performance full of gravitas and anima. Terrence Howard has a strong presence on screen and William Fichtner is still the man. Matt Dillon gives a strong performance as well and is the most likely candidate of them all for a supporting actor award nomination come the end of the year. Ludacris and Larenz Tate are the most consistent characters, and a whole movie about the two of them would have provided a clearer point (Though Tate already did this in “Menace II Society”, which you are better off renting than watching this).

“Crash” is a collection of vignettes, full of strong performances, all woven together just a bit too neatly. It felt like a gimmick by the end. And when Haggis decides to try and trick the audience with a reverse stereotype (gasp), I grab another hammer.

A lot of things in this film carry weight and emotion and provide a welcome breath of fresh air to a movie landscape full of slapstick crap and disturbingly stupid remakes. But it fails to deliver the coup de gracie. Los Angeles has a lot of problems, and every city has racism. That doesn’t mean every single person on the street carries those prejudices on their shoulders. “Crash” is an over-simplified and micro-analyzed film about racial tensions that might have worked in 1985, but not so much in 2005. A 2 out of 5, “Crash” has some good moments but gets crushed under its own weight.